J. Christian Adams' discredited accusations that President Obama's Justice Department engaged in racially charged “corruption” in the New Black Panther Party case are being promoted and defended by a slew of former Justice Department officials connected to the Bush-era DOJ and its “legacy of politicized hiring.”
Bush DOJ: “A Legacy of Politicized Hiring”
Main Justice: New Black Panther Party case tied to Bush “legacy of politicized hiring.” A December 23, 2009, article on the legal news website Main Justice, headlined, “The Black Panther case: A legacy of politicized hiring,” reported: “When the George W. Bush Justice Department filed a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party in January , it invoked a rarely used provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to allege voter intimidation,” which was the “second time the Bush DOJ filed suit” under that provision. Main Justice further reported that the “common denominator in these unusual applications” was “J. Christian Adams, a line attorney at the Justice Department,” and “a foot soldier in the conservative movement, hired into the Justice Department during the Bush administration under a process the department's Inspector General concluded was improperly politicized.” Main Justice reported that Adams was "[h]ired in 2005 by Bradley Schlozman, a Bush-era political appointee who drove out veteran Civil Rights Division attorneys perceived to be liberal."
DOJ IG found that Schlozman violated DOJ policy and federal law in “consider[ing] political and ideological affiliations” of career attorneys. A July 2008 report from the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office and the Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Schlozman “considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys in violation of Department policy and federal law.”
Main Justice: Conservatives have ignored “the background or possible motivations of Adams.” The December 23, 2009, Main Justice article also reported that “conservatives have raised no questions about the background or possible motivations of Adams,” but instead “have attacked the career DOJ lawyers who recommended dismissing it.” Main Justice continued: " 'Those two lawyers, Steve Rosenbaum and Loretta King, are two of the worst political hacks to be found in the career ranks of the Civil Rights Division,' wrote former Bush Civil Rights Division official Hans A. von Spakovsky in an opinion piece for National Review Online." Main Justice further reported:
Spakovsky worked closely with Schlozman. He helped oversee the Noxubee case in Mississippi and assisted in the controversial purge of veteran lawyers in the division perceived to be liberal. The Democratic-controlled Senate in 2007 refused to confirm Spakovsky as a Federal Election Commission member.
Spakovsky has also worked at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for commissioner Todd Gaziano, an official at the conservative Heritage Foundation who's been the driving force behind the push to investigate the Black Panthers matter.
Von Spakovsky told Main Justice said he hadn't spoken with Adams about the case. “I know Christian just like I know all the lawyers, but I have not talked to him about the case,” he said.
Politicized Bush DOJ rushes to support and promote Adams
Adams: DOJ decision not to pursue charges in New Black Panther case demonstrates racially charged corruption. Adams penned a Washington Times column and appeared in a two-part Fox News interview with Megyn Kelly to level accusations of a “corrupt” and racially charged dismissal of the New Black Panther Party case. During the interview, Adams accused the Justice Department of “a hostility in the voting section and in the civil rights division to bringing cases on behalf of white victims for the benefit of national racial minorities.” Adams further said that “the decision to dismiss this case was corrupt,” adding that “to abandon law-abiding citizens and abet wrongdoers constitutes corruption.” In a Pajamas Media post, Adams further wrote:
If we had that frank, truthful discussion about race, we'd learn that the Obama administration doesn't believe some civil rights laws protect every American. The Bush Civil Rights Division was willing to protect all Americans from racial discrimination; during the Obama years, the Holder years, only some Americans will be protected. Americans have a right to know and judge the racial policies of the administration they elected in 2008.
Spakovsky: "[T]he few real professionals ... are being driven out by the biased treatment of Obama political appointees." In a May 20 Heritage Foundation blog post, Spakovsky wrote: “What seems to be happening in the Civil Rights Division is that the few real professionals like [DOJ attorney Christopher] Coates and Adams (who received awards for his job performance, too) are being driven out by the biased treatment of Obama political appointees.” In a December 10, 2009, National Review Online blog post, Spakovsky wrote that Rosenbaum and King, two DOJ attorneys identified as making the determination not to pursue additional charges, were “two of the worst political hacks to be found in the career ranks of the Civil Rights Division.”
Corallo: "[T]he New Black Panther case is glaring proof that the Division has an agenda." According to a July 6 Pajamas Media blog post, Bush-era DOJ director of public affairs Mark Corallo said in a statement:
I am not surprised that the Department is attacking J. Christian Adams. The Civil Rights Division attorneys have no interest in the rule of law as written and passed by Congress -- the New Black Panther case is glaring proof that the Division has an agenda. If Congress was truly interested in oversight, there would be hearings on this case and others.
J. Christian Adams did the honorable thing in resigning and speaking out.
Agarwal: “Adams was a model attorney who vigorously enforced federal voting rights laws.” According to a July 6 Pajamas Media blog post, Asheesh Agarwal, who was appointed assistant attorney general in the DOJ's Civil Rights Division during the Bush administration, stated:
During his tenure with the Department of Justice's Voting Section, J. Christian Adams was a model attorney who vigorously enforced federal voting rights laws on behalf of all voters, without respect to race or ideology. Mr. Adams was also one of the most productive and successful voting attorneys in recent memory.
His victories include two cases on behalf of African-American voters under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, two cases on behalf of white voters under Section 2, and six cases on behalf of Hispanic voters under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. He also brought and won three cases on behalf of military voters. Having worked closely with Mr. Adams for several years, I can attest to the unsurpassed quality of his character, judgment, and commitment to the cause of civil rights on behalf of all Americans.
Driscoll: Dismissal was “a highly unusual decision that is worthy of congressional oversight.” In a statement published in a July 6 Pajamas Media post, Robert Driscoll, appointed deputy assistant attorney general during the Bush administration, claimed that “too many of the career staff” in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division “viewed the role of the Civil Rights Division as simply that of a government-funded advocacy group whose responsibility was to work on behalf of favored political and agenda-driven constituencies -- and not to neutrally apply the law.” Driscoll further claimed: “While it is certainly within the authority of the senior levels of the DOJ Civil Rights Division to make the final litigation decision on any case, including the New Black Panther matter, it would seem to me that dismissal of that case -- after default has been entered and where video evidence exists -- is a highly unusual decision that is worthy of congressional oversight. While some may cast such oversight in partisan terms, it need not be.”
Adams is a longtime GOP activist
Adams was hired to Bush DOJ in 2005 by Bradley Schlozman. According to a July 6 Main Justice article, Joseph Rich, former head of the Civil Rights Division's Voting Section, confirmed that Adams was hired in 2005 by Bradley Schlozman. Rich reportedly called Adams “exhibit A of the type of people hired by Schlozman.”
Kelly: A source “close to the case” said “Christian Adams is a conservative who has made willful misstatements in this interview.” After airing an interview with Adams, Fox News' Kelly reported the Justice Department's reaction to Adams' allegations and then noted: “Another source close to the case telling one of our producers that Christian Adams is a conservative who has made willful misstatements in this interview.”
Adams reportedly volunteered with GOP group that “trains lawyers to fight on the front lines of often racially tinged battles over voting rights.” The December 2009 Main Justice article further reported:
Before coming to the Justice Department, Adams volunteered with the National Republican Lawyers Association, an offshoot of the Republican National Committee that trains lawyers to fight on the front lines of often racially tinged battles over voting rights.
In 2004, Adams served as a Bush campaign poll watcher in Florida, where he was critical of a black couple for not accepting a provisional ballot in early voting after officials said they had no record of the couple's change of address forms, according to Bloomberg News. Democratic poll watchers had advised voters not to accept provisional ballots because of the risk they could be discounted under Florida law, Bloomberg reported.
Adams likened Obama to appeasers who caused “carnage” of WWII. In an October 30, 2009, American Spectator piece, Adams wrote: “President Obama's received his Peace Prize, according to the Nobel Committee, for his 'efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between nations.' Norman Angell's Nobel was awarded for similar reasons.” Adams went on to blame Angell's ideas for World War II:
The 1933 Peace Prize winner profoundly influenced British policy in ways that led directly to German tanks rolling into Poland in September 1939. War did not break out because nations ignored Angell's advice; instead, the ensuing carnage in Europe happened because European democracies made Angell's ideas government policy.
Adams concluded: “Churchill, responding directly to Angell, asked 'who is the man vain enough to suppose that the long antagonisms of history and of time can in all circumstances be adjusted by the smooth and superficial conventions of politicians and ambassadors?' The Nobel Committee may have answered Sir Winston's query for the 21st century.”
Schlozman's politicization wrought havoc on Civil Rights Division
Schlozman was appointed deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush DOJ. According to the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility, Bradley Schlozman joined the Bush Justice Department in 2001 and was appointed as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division, a position he held from 2003-2005.
Schlozman is said to have picked attorneys who “lacked relevant experience” and “rarely expressed any interest in civil rights enforcement.” The IG/OPR report stated that Special Litigation Section Chief Shanetta Cutlar “said that the applicants whose résumés she reviewed after they had been culled from the applicant pool by Schlozman or others in the front office typically reflected membership in conservative organizations. She also said the most striking thing she noticed about the résumés was that the applicants generally lacked relevant experience. She said Schlozman minimized the importance of prior civil rights or human rights work experience.” In addition, the report states:
Former Criminal Section Chief [Albert] Moskowitz also said the candidates for career positions chosen by Schlozman had conservative political or ideological affiliations and rarely had any civil rights background, rarely expressed any interest in civil rights enforcement, and had very little or no federal criminal experience.
Schlozman testified that he “probably ha[d]” boasted about hiring Republicans or conservatives. From a June 5, 2007, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on politicized hiring and firing in the DOJ (from the Nexis database):
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER: Did you ever boast to anyone that you hired a certain number of Republicans or conservatives for any division or section at the Justice Department?
MR. SCHLOZMAN: I mean, I probably have made statements like that.
In addition, the IG/OPR report cited a January 2004 email in which Schlozman wrote to an attorney he had hired: “Just between you and me, we hired another member of 'the team' yesterday. And still another ideological comrade will be starting in one month. So we are making progress.”
IG/OPR documented Schlozman discussing the removal of “disloyal” “liberals” and hiring of conservative “real Americans.” The same report outlined statements from Justice Department officials who said that Schlozman attempted to remove Democrats and liberals and hire “real Americans” or “right-thinking Americans,” which the report determined to mean conservatives. From the report:
Several attorneys in the Division also told us that Schlozman was open about his disdain for and lack of trust in the attorney staff of the Division. Appellate Section Chief Diana Flynn told us that in conversations with her, Schlozman alternately referred to the Appellate Section lawyers hired during prior administrations as “Democrats” and “liberals,” and said they were “disloyal,” could not be trusted, and were not “on the team.” Flynn said Schlozman pledged to move as many of them out of the Division as he could to make room for the “real Americans” and “right-thinking Americans” he wanted to hire.
Accounts from numerous other Division employees and officials, including former AAG Wan Kim and Section Chiefs Cutlar and Flynn, as well as the context of Schlozman's e-mails, indicate that his use of terms such as “real American,” “right-thinking American,” being “on the team,” and similar terms were Schlozman's way of referring to politically conservative applicants and attorneys. For example, an e-mail dated July 17, 2006, from Schlozman to Monica Goodling, who at the time was Senior Counsel to the Attorney General and White House Liaison, sheds light on the meaning of Schlozman's terms. In that e-mail, Schlozman recommended a friend who had interviewed with Goodling for a political position. Schlozman wrote, “I can assure you that [the applicant] is a good American. [The applicant] and Sheldon Bradshaw and I (and [one] other person) made up a four-member Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy at my former law firm.” In another e-mail sent to Goodling on December 4, 2006, in which Schlozman recommended a different friend for an Immigration Judge position, Schlozman wrote, "[D]on't be dissuaded by his ACLU work on voting matters from years ago. This is a very different man, and particularly on immigration issues, he is a true member of the team."
A May 9, 2003, e-mail provides additional evidence of the meaning of Schlozman's phrases. Luis Reyes, then Counsel to the AAG for the Civil Division, sent an e-mail to Schlozman in connection with a legal matter, endorsing an attorney in the Department's Office of Legal Policy as a “right thinking american [sic] to say the least.” In an e-mail response, Schlozman wrote that he “just spoke with [the attorney] to verify his political leanings and it is clear he is a member of the team.”
IG/OPR: Schlozman cut section managers out of the hiring process. As explained in the IG/OPR report, a memorandum on hiring procedures sent out by Ralph F. Boyd Jr., then the Civil Rights Division assistant attorney general, indicated that section chiefs were supposed to interview and provide hiring recommendations. However, the report states that Schlozman “prevented many career section chiefs from reviewing résumés of the complete applicant pool, and he only provided to them résumés of applicants he interviewed. Five of the six section chiefs whom Schlozman supervised while [deputy assistant attorneys general], from May 2003 to June 2005, told us that Schlozman further minimized their roles in the hiring process by providing little advance notice of applicant interviews, discouraging their asking questions during the interviews, and ignoring their assessments and recommendations regarding attorney applicants.” In sections of the Civil Rights Division where Schlozman was not responsible for hiring, by contrast, "[c]areer section managers and attorneys in these sections had greater roles in the process for hiring experienced attorneys."
IG/OPR: Schlozman forwarded “inappropriate jokes,” such as calling former Civil Rights Commission chairwoman “black and bitter.” According to the IG/OPR report, Assistant Attorney General R. Alexander Acosta said that Schlozman was “very loose with his language” and made “inappropriate jokes” during his tenure at the Justice Department. In an example provided to the inspector general, Acosta described as inappropriate an email Schlozman forwarded around the office:
In that incident in August 2004, Voting Section Chief John Tanner sent an e-mail to Schlozman asking Schlozman to bring coffee for him to a meeting both were scheduled to attend. Schlozman replied asking Tanner how he liked his coffee. Tanner's response was, “Mary Frances Berry style -- black and bitter.” Berry is an African-American who was the Chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from November 1993 until late 2004. Schlozman forwarded the e-mail chain to several Department officials (including Principal DAAG Bradshaw) but not Acosta, with the comment, “Y'all will appreciate Tanner's response.” Acosta said that when he was made aware of the incident, he required Schlozman to make a written apology to him for his role in forwarding the e-mail and that Schlozman did so. Acosta said that he believed Schlozman wrote him the apology in an e-mail, but we were unable to retrieve Acosta's e-mails and did not find such an e-mail among Schlozman's recovered e-mail messages.
Former DOJ official testified that “damage” done to Civil Rights Division by Bush administration hiring practices is “deep and will take time to overcome.” Joseph D. Rich, chief of the Civil Rights Division's Voting Section from 1999-2005 and an employee of the Civil Rights Division for 37 years, testified that the appearance of “a conscious effort to remake the Division's career staff” during the Bush administration “resulted in an alarming exodus of career attorneys -- the longtime backbone of the Division that had historically maintained the institutional knowledge of how to enforce our civil rights laws tracing back to the passage of our modern civil rights statutes.” Rich also testified, “The overall damage caused by losing a large body of the committed career staff and replacing it with persons with little or no interest or experience in civil rights enforcement has been severe and will be difficult to overcome.” From Rich's March 22, 2007, testimony before the House Judiciary Committee:
During the Bush Administration, there has been an unprecedented effort to change the make-up of the career staff at the Civil Rights Division. This has resulted in a major loss of career personnel with many years of experience in civil rights enforcement and in the invaluable institutional memory that had always been maintained in the Division until now -- in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Replacement of this staff through a new hiring process resulted in the perception and reality of politicization of the Division, and high profile decisions in voting matters have added significantly to this. The overall impact has been a loss of public confidence in the fair and even-handed enforcement of civil rights laws by the Department of Justice.
The damage done to one of the federal government's most important law enforcement agencies is deep and will take time to overcome.
Coates reportedly became “a true member of the team” during the Bush administration
Coates reportedly filed a “reverse-discrimination” complaint against DOJ and became “more conservative” after not being promoted. A 2007 McClatchy Newspapers article connected Coates to Schlozman and the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department. McClatchy reported that Schlozman attempted to refute the notion that the DOJ had used political ideology in its personnel practices in part by citing “the promotion of Chris Coates, a former ACLU voting counsel, to serve as top deputy chief of the voting section.” McClatchy went on to report that Joseph Rich, then head of the DOJ's voting rights section, and other DOJ lawyers interviewed said that Coates “seemed to grow more conservative after his superiors passed him over for a promotion in favor of an African-American woman, and he filed a reverse-discrimination suit.” [McClatchy Newspapers, 5/6/07]
Schlozman reportedly identified Coates as a “true member of the team.” A July 2008 report from the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office and the Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Schlozman improperly considered ideology when making personnel decisions and cited numerous emails in which Schlozman discussed adding conservative members to “the team.” In a January 8, 2010, American Prospect article, Adam Serwer reported that “several current and former Justice Department officials” identified Coates as the attorney Schlozman called “a very different man” from his days of working for the American Civil Liberties Union and “a true member of the team” while recommending him for a job:
At first glance, Coates' extensive experience with voting rights -- he first worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and later the Justice Department -- made him look like just another career attorney. But Coates' current and former colleagues at the Justice Department say Coates underwent an ideological conversion shortly after a black lawyer in the Voting Rights Section, Gilda Daniels, was promoted to deputy section chief over him in July of 2000. Outraged, Coates filed a complaint alleging he was passed up for the job because he is white. The matter was settled internally.
“He thought he should have been hired instead of her,” said one former official in the Voting Section. “That had an impact on his views ... he became more conservative over time.”
Coates' star rose during the Bush administration, during which he was promoted to principal deputy section chief. While not mentioned by name, Coates has been identified by several current and former Justice Department officials as the anonymous Voting Section lawyer, referred to in the joint Inspector General/Office of Professional Responsibility report, that Schlozman recommended for an immigration judge position. Immigration judges have jurisdiction over whether or not foreign nationals are deported. In his letter to Monica Goodling, a former senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who was implicated in the scandal involving politicized hiring, Schlozman wrote of Coates:
Don't be dissuaded by his ACLU work on voting matters from years ago. This is a very different man, and particularly on immigration issues, he is a true member of the team. [The American Prospect, 1/8/10]
Coates has donated to conservative candidates -- including President Bush and former Sen. George Allen. 2004, Coates donated $250 to the Bush reelection campaign. In 2006, Coates donated $350 to then Sen. George Allen (R-VA).
Spakovsky served as counsel to the Bush DOJ's civil rights division assistant attorney general. Hans von Spakovsky served as counsel to the Bush DOJ's Civil Rights Division assistant attorney general. In a letter opposing Spakovsky's nomination to the Federal Election Commission, Joseph Rich, the head of the voting rights section from 1999-2005, wrote that Spakovsky served in that capacity from 2003-2005 and “assumed the role of de facto Voting Section chief.”
Spakovsky was counsel to assistant AG reportedly suspected of voter suppression. A June 24, 2007, McClatchy article (via Nexis) reported that "[f]our days before the 2004 election," when Spakovsky served as counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, “the Justice Department's civil rights chief sent an unusual letter to a federal judge in Ohio who was weighing whether to let Republicans challenge the credentials of 23,000 mostly African-American voters.” The article also reported, “Former Justice Department civil rights officials and election watchdog groups charge that his letter sided with Republicans engaging in an illegal, racially motivated tactic known as 'vote-caging' in a state that would be pivotal in delivering President Bush a second term in the White House.” From the article:
The case was triggered by allegations that Republicans had sent a mass mailing to mostly Democratic-leaning minorities and used undeliverable letters to compile a list of voters potentially vulnerable to eligibility challenges.
In his letter to U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott of Cincinnati, Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta argued that it would “undermine” the enforcement of state and federal election laws if citizens could not challenge voters' credentials.
Former Justice Department civil rights officials and election watchdog groups charge that his letter sided with Republicans engaging in an illegal, racially motivated tactic known as “vote-caging” in a state that would be pivotal in delivering President Bush a second term in the White House.
Joseph Rich, a former chief of the department's Voting Rights Section, called the Ohio scheme “vote caging.”
Acosta declined during the weekend to say whether Hans von Spakovsky, the division's voting counsel at the time, had any role in writing the letter.
Spakovsky reportedly “wasn't interested in stepping up enforcement” of voter registration laws. A November 9, 2007, McClatchty article reported that Rich said that “voter-registration groups came to the department [in 2004] with evidence of widespread noncompliance,” but that Spakovsky “told [Rich] the section wasn't interested in stepping up enforcement.”
Spakovsky reportedly shifted DOJ voting section “from expanding registration opportunities” to “unnecessarily forcing jurisdictions to remove voters. A June 4, 2007, McClatchy article (via Nexis) reported:
Joseph Rich, a former chief of the Justice Department's Voting Rights Section, said that Hans von Spakovsky, a former division counsel, directed him in early 2005 to start what Rich called ” an initiative" to enforce the provision requiring states to maintain accurate registration lists.
Department spokeswoman Magnuson said “there was no initiative” and that the agency was merely enforcing the law.
Rich said the department changed priorities under the motor voter law “from expanding registration opportunities -- the primary purpose of the statute -- to unnecessarily forcing jurisdictions to remove voters from their voter rolls.”
“Aggressive purging of the voter rolls tends to have a disproportionate impact on voters who move frequently, live in cities and have names that are more likely to be incorrectly entered into databases,” said Rich, who's now an attorney with the liberal-leaning Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. Primarily, he said, this means poor, minority voters.
Spakovsky called “one of the most meddlesome” of Bush-era DOJ's “political operatives.” In a June 14, 2007, editorial headlined, “Another sorry ascension,” The New York Times stated: “It apparently wasn't enough for the Bush administration to pack the Department of Justice with political operatives. The White House has now nominated one of the most meddlesome of those partisans, Hans von Spakovsky, to a powerful post on the Federal Election Commission.”
Driscoll is representing AZ sheriff under DOJ investigation
Driscoll appointed deputy assistant attorney general in Bush DOJ. During the Bush administration, Robert Driscoll was appointed as deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department Civil Rights Division, a position he held from 2001-2003.
Driscoll represents Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is being investigated by the DOJ Civil Rights Division. A December 14, 2009, Talking Points Memo post reported, “Since March, investigators with DOJ's Civil Rights Division have been looking into allegations of racial profiling and related issues in connection with [Maricopa County Sheriff Joe] Arpaio's enforcement of immigration laws. Between 2004 and 2007, Arpaio reportedly had 2,700 law suits filed against his office -- 50 times the number of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined.” TPM continued:
Arpaio first pledged to cooperate with the probe. But since then, he appears to have turned to Washington lawyer Bob Driscoll to help slow-roll it.
In an interview with TPMmuckraker, Driscoll suggested that DOJ is motivated by something other than the impartial administration of justice. “They clearly don't like Joe,” he said. “They don't like his politics, they don't like his immigration policy.”
Driscoll has filed a series of what some call frivolous complaints against the Justice Department, which appear designed to throw sand in the gears of the investigation.
Driscoll represented Bush-era DOJ offical accused of threatening and intimidating fired U.S. attorneys. Driscoll reportedly represented Michael Elston, then chief of staff for Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, against allegations by the Justice Department's Inspector General that Elston “attempted to threaten and intimidate three of the fired U.S. Attorneys in order to keep them from publicly discussing their removals.” The IG report concluded that “we do not believe the evidence is sufficient to show that his intent was to threaten or intimidate the three U.S. Attorneys” but also that it was not 'unreasonable' for the three fired attorneys to have reached the conclusions they did."
Driscoll represented GOP staffers who allegedly hacked into Dem's emails. In a March 5, 2004, article (via Nexis), the Salt Lake Tribune reported: “In a report released Thursday, the Senate Sergeant At Arms (SAA) found that Nominations Unit clerk Jason Lundell covertly gathered 4,670 files from the committee's shared computer server, after getting networkwide access by watching a technical administrator work on his computer and copying his moves. Lundell then relayed information on Democratic strategies for blocking judicial nominees to his superiors, the report said.” The article identified “Robert Driscoll of Washington” as Lundell's attorney.
Driscoll is a GOP donor. According to Federal Election Commission data, Driscoll donated contributed $2,000 to Bush's 2004 primary campaign, $1,000 to Rep. Henry Hyde, and $250 to Sen. George Allen.
Mark Corallo defended Schlozman, advised Rove and Blackwater
Corallo served as Bush-era DOJ press secretary. Corallo served as press secretary and public affairs director for the Bush Justice Department from 2002-2005. He is the founder and partner of Corallo Comstock, a crisis communications firm he started with Bus-era Justice Department spokeswoman Barbara Comstock.
Corallo reportedly defended Schlozman after DOJ IG/OPR found that Schlozman improperly politicized DOJ hiring. During the January 13, 2009, edition of All Things Considered (via Nexis), correspondent Ari Shapiro reported on the DOJ IG/OPR reports into “how Bush appointees at Justice broke the rules to put conservatives in positions that were supposed to be apolitical” and the finding that Schlozman “once justified hiring people with no record of civil rights experience.” Shapiro continued: “Quote, 'I just want to make sure we don't start confining ourselves to, you know, politburo members because they happen to be a member of some, you know, psychopathic left-wing organization designed to overthrow the government,' Shlozman said.” Shapiro then aired Corallo -- whom he identified as Schlozman's spokesman -- saying, “Let's not confuse inartful comments with, you know, breaking the law.”
Corallo advised Karl Rove during Plame leak investigation and Blackwater during controversies over wasteful spending and secret raids. In December 2009, Jack O'Dwyer's public relations industry newsletter (via Nexis) reported that Corallo “repped Karl Rove during the Valerie Plame leak scandal” and “recently began representing” Xe Services -- previously known as Blackwater Worldwide. O'Dwyer further stated: “Corallo in 2007 provided media training to Blackwater executives before they testified in Congress in April of that year over alleged wasteful spending on contractors in Iraq” and that Blackwater was “gaining new scrutiny as the New York Times reported Dec. 11  that company security contractors participated in secret raids against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan by the Central Intelligence Agency.”
Corallo reportedly called President Clinton “a rapist” and pushed Livingston to proceed with impeachment. In his book, The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton, Peter Baker wrote that when Corallo served as aide to Bob Livingston, then House Speaker-elect, Livingston said to Corallo, “We've got to stop this. ... This is crazy. We're about to impeach the president of the United States.” Baker wrote that Corallo told Livingston, “Boss, we have a rapist in the White House.” Baker further wrote :
“So what you're saying,” Livingston finally said to his anxious aide, “is we have to impeach the bastard.”
“Yes, I'm saying we have to impeach the bastard.”
“Okay,” Livingston sighed. “We won't have a meeting.” [Pages 16-17]
Corallo defended Ashcroft over controversial no-bid contracts awarded by former DOJ attorney Christie. A February 26, 2008, Newark (New Jersey) Star-Ledger article (via Nexis) identified Corallo as a spokesman for former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was facing a congressional inquiry into a controversial, no-bid contract Ashcroft was awarded by former Justice Department attorney Chris Christie. A January 10, 2008, New York Times article reported that Ashcroft had been awarded “an 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million” by Christie -- at the time a U.S. attorney -- to oversee a legal settlement. The Times further reported that the contract “has prompted an internal inquiry into the department's procedures for selecting outside monitors to police settlements with large companies.” According to a March 15, 2008, New York Times editorial, Christie “gave [Ashcroft] the job with no competitive bidding and no judicial approval. Mr. Ashcroft told the House Judiciary Committee: 'There is not a conflict; there is not an appearance of a conflict.' He couldn't be more wrong.” A January 11, 2008, St. Petersburg Times editorial stated, “It should be obvious that taking hugely lucrative no-bid contracts from the agency you used to head is not the best way to support yourself after a career in public service,” and that “the deal looks slimy.”
ACLU: Corallo misled the public about the scope of the Patriot Act. A July 2003 ACLU report titled, “The Justice Department's Campaign to Mislead the Public About the USA PATRIOT Act,” identified 11 false statements Corallo made in the media about the act's scope.
Asheesh Agarwal is a right-wing activist
Agarwal appointed to deputy assistant attorney general in Bush DOJ. During the Bush administration, Asheesh Agarwal was appointed as deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, a position he held from 2006-2008.
Agarwal affiliated with GOP group that “trains lawyers to fight on the front lines of often racially tinged battles over voting rights.” According to his biography at the legal firm Ogletree Deakins, Agarwal is affiliated with the Republican National Lawyers Association. The website Main Justice referred to the group as “an offshoot of the Republican National Committee that trains lawyers to fight on the front lines of often racially tinged battles over voting rights.”
Agarwal penned memo advancing right-wing witch hunt against ACORN. According to Republican Congressman Darrel Issa's 2009 minority staff report, “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured As a Criminal Enterprise?” Agarwal wrote a 2004 memo arguing that “ACORN's activities” from its Project Vote initiative “constituted 'racketeering,' ” and that ACORN “engaged in a scheme to defraud voters of their intangible right to honest government services.”
Agarwal represented McCain campaign in 2008 South Asian town hall. Agarwal represented Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign during an October 8, 2008, South Asian Bar Association election town hall meeting.
Agarwal served on the Illinois Chapter of Young Professionals for Bush in 2000. During the 2000 election, Agarwal was a member of the Illinois Chapter of Young Professionals for Bush.
Media sources backing up allegations have history of pushing falsehoods
Toensing: DOJ has “a certain bias against bringing cases where whites are the victims of the intimidation.” Appearing on the July 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity (via Nexis), Victoria Toensing, a deputy assistant attorney general during the Reagan administration, discussed the case and said: “I was at the department. It was well-known and it's been well-known for decades that the Civil Rights section there has had lawyers there who have had a certain bias against bringing cases where whites are the victims of the intimidation.” Toensing went on to say that “the conduct was never egregious. Nobody was ordered to do, specifically, forget about enforcing Section 8 which is what Christian Adams testified to yesterday at -- before the Civil Rights Commission.”
Toensing has been criticized for “non-stop mugging” and for lacking “impartiality, non-partisanship, and professionalism.” In 1998, Toensing, who was working as outside counsel for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, was criticized for her actions in connection with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. A February 5, 1998, Roll Call article (via Nexis) reported: “Rep. Bill Clay (D-Mo) launched a stinging attack on the two lead attorneys investigating the Teamsters campaign finance scandal yesterday, alleging that the attorneys have lost their objectivity because of their frequent television appearances and 'participation' in the scandal involving ex-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.” The article also reported:
Clay's rebuke of former independent counsel Joseph diGenova and his wife and law firm partner, Victoria Toensing, who were hired in November by a House Education and the Workforce subcommittee, came in a letter to Chairman Bill Goodling (R-Pa) yesterday.
“Sadly, Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing have become so closely aligned with the President's critics and so personally identified with the scandal itself as to have relinquished the air of impartiality, non-partisanship, and professionalism required of leaders of a serious congressional investigation,” wrote Clay, the ranking member of the Education and the Workforce Committee.
“Put more bluntly,” Clay added, “the couple's relentless self-promotion and non-stop mugging for the likes of Geraldo Rivera - however good for business and their egos - is unseemly, undignified, unworthy of this committee, and generally detrimental to important Congressional functions.”
Clay said in his letter that a LEXIS/NEXIS search found 166 citations of diGenova and Toensing commenting on the Lewinsky affair between Jan. 21 and Feb. 4. The letter came even as Republicans approved an additional $750,000 for the diGenova-Toensing investigation.
Toensing criticized for conflict of interest for dual role in separate DOJ investigations. Toensing and diGenova were criticized for for serving as special counsel in the House Education and the Workforce Committee probe into Justice Department oversight of the Teamsters union while also representing Dan Burton, the committee's chairman at the time, in a separate Justice Department probe. A December 18, 1997, Roll Call article (via Nexis) reported: “Rep. Bill Clay (Mo), the full committee's ranking Democrat, has raised questions about the fact that the two attorneys are also representing Burton in the Justice Department's investigation of charges that the Government Reform and Oversight chairman tried to extort campaign money from a lobbyist during the 1996 election cycle.” The article also reported:
Democrats believe this creates a conflict of interest because [Rep. Pete] Hoekstra's [R-MI] subcommittee plans to investigate the Justice Department's decade-long oversight of the Teamsters, specifically the agency's handling of the union's 1996 presidential election.
Clay says that diGenova and Toensing, a former chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee and a deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan Administration, should not lead a Congressional investigation of the Justice Department while the department is conducting a criminal investigation of one of their outside clients.
Toensing pushed media falsehood that Plame's CIA status was widely known on D.C. “cocktail circuit.” Toensing and co-author Bruce Sanford promoted the false claim -- popular in right-wing media circles -- that Valerie Plame's CIA status was known “on the Washington cocktail circuit” prior to its disclosure by columnist Robert Novak. Toensing and Sanford wrote in a January 12, 2005, op-ed:
Merely knowing that Plame works for the CIA does not provide the knowledge that the government is keeping her relationship secret. In fact, just the opposite is the case. If it were known on the Washington cocktail circuit, as has been alleged, that Wilson's wife is with the agency, a possessor of that gossip would have no reason to believe that information is classified -- or that “affirmative measures” were being taken to protect her cover.
In an October 28, 2005, press conference announcing the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald refuted the falsehood, stating:
FITZGERALD: Valerie [Plame] Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified. Not only was it classified, but it was not widely known outside the intelligence community.
Valerie Wilson's friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life.
Toensing advanced falsehood that “Plame was not covert.” In a February 18, 2007, op-ed for The Washington Post, Toensing wrote: “On Dec. 30, 2003, the day Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel, he should have known (all he had to do was ask the CIA) that Plame was not covert, knowledge that should have stopped the investigation right there.”
In fact, according to CIA director, Plame “was a covert agent.” Rep. Henry Waxman stated on March 16, 2007, in a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, that then-CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed to him that Plame was “a covert agent.” Waxman stated: “General Hayden, the head of the CIA, told me personally that she was -- that if I said that she was a covert agent, it wouldn't be an incorrect statement.” Waxman also stated:
WAXMAN: But General Hayden and the CIA have cleared these following comments for today's hearing.
During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was undercover. Her employment status with the CIA was classified information, prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.
At the time of the publication of Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003, Ms. Wilson's CIA employment status was covert. This was classified information.
Toensing involved in discredited and retracted article about President Clinton. In a February 27, 1998, article on Toensing and DiGenova's involvement in a retracted Dallas Morning News article claiming that a Secret Service agent had witnessed President Clinton and Lewinsky in a “compromising situation,” The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported:
The melodrama began when Toensing was approached by an intermediary for a Secret Service agent who was said to be willing to testify that he saw Clinton and Lewinsky in a compromising situation. DiGenova passed this on to Morning News reporter David Jackson ( “Joe and I exchanged a few words over that,” Toensing says), and the paper published the story in its Internet edition, attributing the account to an unnamed lawyer “familiar with the negotiations.” But by then the intermediary had told Toensing the agent was backing off.
Hours later, the Morning News retracted the report, saying the “longtime Washington lawyer” had said the information was “inaccurate.”
The couple now say that Toensing, taking a call from Jackson hours before deadline, told the reporter: “If Joe is your source, it's wrong.”
“The bottom line is, they were told not to print and they chose to print,” diGenova says. “I don't know how much more helpful you can be to a newspaper than to tell them not to print.”
Carl Leubsdorf, the paper's Washington bureau chief, says: “The reporter's recollection of that conversation is quite different. He was told that 'if Joe told you that, he shouldn't have.' If it had been the other way, the story of course would have been reassessed at that point.”
Toensing has donated nearly $30,000 to GOP candidates and causes. According to Federal Election Commission data, a donor named Victoria Toensing with a Chevy Chase, Maryland, address has donated $29,916 to Republican candidates or organizations that support Republican campaigns, including $1,000 to George W Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign, $500 to John McCain's 1998 Senate reelection campaign, and $13,000 to The Wish List, an organization that “raises money to identify, train, support and elect more Republican women leaders to public office at all levels of government.” Toensing contributed a total of $1,150 to Democratic candidates.
Toensing reportedly served on host committee for GOP delegate candidate. The Washington Examiner reported that Toensing served on the hosting committee for Republican Barbara Comstock's Virginia Delegate campaign.
Toensing served as Reagan deputy assistant attorney general. Toensing served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Justice Department during the Reagan administration and was Sen. Barry Goldwater's chief counsel.
Sekulow: "[T]his is a dual standard," and “really outrageous.” During the July 7 edition of Hannity, (via Nexis), Jay Sekulow, chief counsel to the American Center for Law and Justice, said: “You've got people, as you said, in paramilitary garb screaming at people as they're coming into a polling place -- a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act.” Sekulow went on to say, “It's absurd. The evidence is on the tape. The evidence is the witnesses that backed up the initial complaint. And the fact of the matter is, this is a dual standard, is an understatement here. It's really outrageous.” Sekulow further said that the Justice Department “made a political decision” and that “as soon as you get rid of the rule of law, you end up with anarchy and that's where we're going if this doesn't get corrected.”
Sekulow bragged about “great placement” of Regent grads to DOJ. Sekulow, whose American Center for Law and Justice is based at Pat Robertson's Regent University, commented in a Boston Globe article that "[w]e've had great placement" and “had a lot of people in key positions.” The article noted that Monica Goodling, a Bush DOJ official connected to the politicization of the Justice Department, graduated from Regent Law School. From the article:
Not long ago, it was rare for Regent graduates to join the federal government. But in 2001, the Bush administration picked the dean of Regent's government school, Kay Coles James, to be the director of the Office of Personnel Management - essentially the head of human resources for the executive branch. The doors of opportunity for government jobs were thrown open to Regent alumni.
“We've had great placement,” said Jay Sekulow, who heads a nonprofit law firm based at Regent that files lawsuits aimed at lowering barriers between church and state. “We've had a lot of people in key positions.”
Many of those who have Regent law degrees, including Goodling, joined the Department of Justice. Their path to employment was further eased in late 2002, when John Ashcroft, then attorney general, changed longstanding rules for hiring lawyers to fill vacancies in the career ranks.
Sekulow criticized for allegedly using his nonprofit organizations' finances for personal profit. As Media Matters noted, A 2005 Legal Times article (retrieved via Factiva) reported that an investigation of Sekulow's finances revealed “a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle” that is “at odds with his role as the head of a charitable organization that solicits small donations for legal work in God's name.” The article reported on “how money solicited for donations to Pat Robertson's ACLJ sometimes ended up with Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, a separate Sekulow organization” that “paid a total of $2,374,833 to purchase two homes used primarily by Sekulow and his wife.”
Sekulow pushed false claim that the Obama administration inappropriately subpoenaed a website's visitor list. Appearing on the November 10, 2009, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, Sekulow advanced the falsehood that “the White House” was “intimidating” an “independent news site” by issuing a subpoena for that website's visitor list. Sekulow charged that the administration was “playing very dangerously with media and with the new media -- very, very dangerous.” But the subpoena was issued by a Bush administration appointee on January 23, 2009 -- just days after Obama's inauguration and prior to Eric Holder being sworn in as attorney general on February 2. The Obama administration withdrew the subpoena in February 2009 -- months before Sekulow advanced the falsehood on Fox.
Sekulow donated $1,000 to radical who prayed that abortion doctor would “either be converted to God or that calamity will strike him.” According to FEC reports, Sekulow donated $1,000 to Randall Terry for Congress in 1997. In 1992, Terry appeared in a video that CBS News' Lesley Stahl said, “shows him asking his followers to 'pray for either the salvation or the death' " of a Colorado physician. 60 Minutes then aired video of Terry stating, “But pray that this family will either be converted to God or that calamity will strike him.” Terry has since commented that the murdered abortion doctor George Tiller “reaped what he sowed.” Terry also reportedly served three months in federal prison for arranging to have a dead fetus delivered to Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
Sekulow supported a state law denying gay people the possibility of full protection of the law. In 1996, Sekulow filed an amicus brief on behalf of the ACLJ opposing the overturning of a Colorado amendment that would have prevented Colorado municipalities from recognizing gay people as a protected class. The Supreme Court overturned the amendment, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing that “the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint.”
Sekulow argued that a “ban on same-sex sodomy ... furthers public morality.” Sekulow and the ACLJ filed an amicus brief opposing overturning American anti-sodomy laws in the case of Lawrence v. Texas, stating that to recognize “extramarital sex acts as 'fundamental rights' would jeopardize the wide array of state laws governing even consensual, adult sexual activity” and that the Constitution “neither does nor ought to enshrine the Sexual Revolution.” The brief also argued that a “ban on same-sex sodomy permissibly furthers public morality” and that there are “extensively documented health risks of same-sex sodomy.”
Sekulow has long history of donating to Republican campaigns. FEC reports show that Jay Sekulow and the American Center of Law and Justice have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans, including Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican Party, Sen. John Thune, John Ashcroft, Mitt Romney, and George W. Bush.
Fund promotes Adams' accusations in Wall Street Journal and on Fox News. Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund has promoted Adams' allegations in his Wall Street Journal column and during appearances on Fox News.
Fund's fabricated “universal voter registration” bill takes off in right-wing media. In November 2009, Fund spoke at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum and declared that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) were planning to introduce universal voter registration legislation. Fund's claim took off in right-wing media: a January 4 Examiner.com article and a January 7 Washington Times editorial each pushed Fund's fabricated legislation, and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck each repeated the claim. On January 13, Frank wrote a letter to Fund accusing him of making “your assertion with no factual basis and without any effort to verify it. To me, that qualifies as a lie.” According to Frank, “I have had no involvement with this whatsoever, with Senator Schumer or anybody else.” In a January 18 WorldNetDaily article, columnist Chelsea Schilling reprinted sections of Frank's letter and reported that “Fund corrected himself when he spoke with WND.” Fund reportedly said: “I made an error. I should have referred to John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. It's not Congressman Frank. It's Congressman Conyers,” although Fund continued to cite no evidence for this claim.
Fund fabricated evidence of voter fraud in New Jersey. Appearing on Fox News' Glenn Beck, John Fund claimed that Hispanic voters in Camden, New Jersey, are being told that there is “a new way for you to vote, la nueva forma de votar” -- an anecdote Fund suggested was evidence of voter fraud in the state's 2009 gubernatorial election. In fact -- as Fund himself wrote in a Wall Street Journal column published hours earlier -- that incident actually occurred in Philadelphia in 1993.